ROGERS, Ark. – The Arkansas Baptist State Convention (ABSC) Northwest Arkansas (NWA) Ministry Center is carrying on the legacy of 26th Street Baptist Church in Rogers. A legacy to share the Gospel.
In the fall of 2021, the 26th Street Baptist Church in Rogers closed and donated their facilities to the ABSC. Church leaders had a longstanding relationship with the ABSC and, in particular, Disaster Relief.
This connection, and their desire to see the facilities used daily for the advancement of the Gospel, resulted in their decision to help establish a ministry center. They used their closure as an opportunity to continue ministry in the area by donating it to the ABSC for that purpose.
Gary Cobb, a member of the church when it closed, said COVID hit them hard, and they never recovered but knew God had a plan.
They were debt-free and, despite the small size of the congregation, were able to cover the few monthly bills they had coming in. However, they thought somebody else could probably make better use of the property. So, Cobb said they contacted ABSC and asked them to discuss options with them including their disbanding which they ultimately did.
“It was bittersweet to walk away but we have made so many wonderful friends at our new church that we know we made the correct choice,” Cobb said.
After the completion of a few updates, the new ministry center began to host a plethora of ministry/training events, such as a ministry pipeline workshop, first responder training, and much more. Additionally, the ministry center serves as a location to launch church plants. Currently, the Summit Church Bentonville church plant meets Sunday mornings at the facility.
According to a 2020 study from the Arkansas Development Economic Institute, close to a million people are anticipated to be living in Northwest Arkansas by 2045. The area continues to be one of the fastest growing and incredibly influential parts of Arkansas.
Estimates released by the bureau in late 2022 show Benton County saw an increase of almost 10,000 people between 2021 and 2022 with the population increasing from 286,586 to 294,337.
Just to the south of Benton County, in Washington County, the population increased from 246,756 in 2021 to 251,692 in 2022. To the east, Madison and Carroll counties also saw an increase in population.
Furthermore, within this growth, the nations are coming to the state through northwest Arkansas. Reaching northwest Arkansas means reaching not only our neighbors, or the next generation, but it means reaching the world.
Over the last few years, the ABSC began to ramp up its ministry presence in northwest Arkansas to better serve the churches in the area. This began with placing two ABSC leaders in northwest Arkansas to serve as resources to the churches. The ABSC formerly utilized the Elmdale Baptist Church education annex in Springdale, which now houses Living Well Counseling of the Arkansas Baptist Children and Family Ministries.
Tim Wicker serves as the northwest Arkansas lead strategist and Chris Kohlman, a long-time northwest Arkansas resident, serves with the College + Young Leaders Team as well as Lynn Loyd.
The 6,000-square-foot ministry center houses offices for the local ABSC staff as well as northwest Arkansas Baptist Disaster Relief. It’s not a large facility, but Wicker said it works well for what they’re doing. He said they’ve received a very positive reception.
Moving forward, the center will continue hosting equipping events, seminars, training and local ministry opportunities.
The ABSC is grateful for, and applauds, the generosity of the forward-thinking, mission-hearted folks at 26th Street Baptist whose legacy will live on through the ABSC Northwest Arkansas Ministry Center.
For more information about the ministry center and upcoming events, click here.
One upcoming ABSC event in northwest is Arise, an opportunity to come together and celebrate God’s work in and through Arkansas Baptists. It will take place at 6 p.m. Sunday, May 7, at First Baptist Church in Rogers.
A choir consisting of members from various churches in the region will lead worship and Interim Executive Director Dr. Rex Horne will bring a message and highlight ministry work through Arkansas Baptists.